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Man describes what happened to his body when he gave up fizzy drinks

A former soda-drinker describes what happens to your body when you give up the sugary beverage

Chelsea Ritschel
in New York
Friday 10 August 2018 16:58 BST
This is what happens when you stop drinking soda (Stock)
This is what happens when you stop drinking soda (Stock)

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A fitness journalist says giving up soda changed his life - after becoming so hooked on the stuff that he kept a huge bottle of it on his desk at all times.

“Everyone wants that one life-changing moment. I had mine three years ago,” Michael Freidson, 41, wrote in an article for Men’s Health, declaring that his moment occurred when he gave up the sugary beverage for good.

Freidson, who drank multiple cans of Coke daily into his adult years and who considered the creation of Coke Zero one of his “happiest days,” quit his habit once he realised that his soda intake may be ageing him prematurely.

According to Freidson, it was after seeing the headline “Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking,” on a 2014 study that he decided to quit once and for all, as only then did he realise the impact that soda was actually having on his body.

Prior to giving up his daily indulgence of Diet Coke, Freidson was 20 pounds heavier than he is today, and had high blood pressure.

“I felt unfocused, sluggish, bloated, and depressed,” he wrote.

Diet coke has the same negative effects as regular soda
Diet coke has the same negative effects as regular soda (Getty Images)

Through additional research into what exactly his habit was doing to his health, Freidson found that even diet soda is directly linked to a person’s risk of obesity, according to research from the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio (UTHSC).

Apart from a higher risk of obesity, eight years after the original study, the soda drinkers who drank one or more diet sodas a day were also found to have their average waist circumference increase by 3.16in.

Drinking soda is linked to obesity and increased waist circumference
Drinking soda is linked to obesity and increased waist circumference (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Research has also found drinking soda can cause infertility, increase the risk of certain cancers, and contribute to diabetes and high blood pressure.

For Freidson, the effects of quitting soda were noticeable “instantly.”

“I instantly began to think more clearly and have more energy,” he wrote. “One month in, I noticed I could ‘cheat’ more at mealtime and still lose weight. I realised my abs were more defined.”

And most importantly for Freidson, he is now often told he looks good for his age - his original motivation for giving up the sugar-loaded beverages.

Fortunately, soda consumption is down globally from the 49 gallons of soda per person that was being consumed yearly - although there are still significant ways to go.

To beat the habit, Freidson offered his own recommendations - a five-step plan which he developed alongside experts from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University, and Tufts University.

  1. Find a replacement
  2. Make a habit
  3. Reward yourself right
  4. Resist the marketing
  5. Take a sip, avoid a slip

Most former soda drinkers promise that after six months of no soda, the taste will be too sweet to enjoy.

Although it may sound like a daunting task, according to Freidson, giving up soda is “easier than you think.”

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